School Produces Doctor Who ProjectBookmark and Share

Friday, 13 December 2019 - Reported by Marcus

Pupils at a special needs school in Wales have produced their own episode of Doctor Who, narrated by Seventh Doctor, Sylvester McCoy.

Ysgol Pen-y-Bryn is a school based in Swansea, for pupils aged 3-19 years, with a wide range of special needs.

Throughout the past year, their film enterprise group have been filming around Wales and making their own props for a special Doctor Who project.

Today sees the launch of the completed episode (just under 40 minutes in length) on the school's YouTube channel for free.




The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas CrackersBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 27 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced a festive collection of tales for The Lucy Wilson Mysteries:

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas Crackers (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The Lucy Wilson Mysteries - Christmas Crackers
Written by Cherry Cobb, Tim Gambrell, Terry Cooper, Keren Williams, Chris Lynch
Cover by Steve Beckett

Ogmore-by-Sea seems to have gone back to its old sleepy way. But adventure never stops for Lucy Wilson and her best friend Hobo, not even at Christmas...

In the run up to the holiday season, Lucy and Hobo help out at the school Christmas Fayre. But what’s inside the Christmas crackers? Why are people going missing? How does everyone seem to be so unlucky? And who is the mysterious Crone?

A collection of five short stories set between Christmas, the New Year and beyond... this book is Christmas Crackers!

Head of publishing at Candy Jar, Shaun Russell, says:

We’ve had such good feedback for the series of books. Reviews have been encouraging and fans seem to have embraced the series completely. As a small thank you for all of the support received, we wanted to release something completely unexpected in time for our readers to enjoy over the Christmas period.

The short story collection entitled contains five stories by a range of different authors.
  • The Mobile Army, written by popular children’s author Cherry Cobb
    I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to write a Lucy Wilson story, having read the books I fell in love with Lucy as a strong independent character who isn’t afraid to stand up for her beliefs. I hope my daughter grows up to have the same outlook on life.
  • The Christmas Cracker Conundrum, written by Tim Gambrell (originally given away for free in 2018)
    It feels very fitting, to me, for The Christmas Cracker Conundrum to make its way into print, now, for a whole new set of readers. Lucy Wilson, Hobo and I have been on something of a wild journey over the last twelve months. It started with Shaun asking me to contribute a Lucy Wilson short story to Candy Jar's 2018 advent calendar, then it ran through my two 2019 novels, and the journey now comes full circle, back to The Christmas Cracker Conundrum!

    I love the characters, their energy, their individuality and the world they inhabit. And Lucy doesn't just speak to kids her own age, either. In the best tradition of children's literature, there's always something in her stories for everyone. Shaun gave me pretty much free reign with my short story, only specifying that it had to involve Christmas crackers, somehow. That's more than enough to get the imagination flowing. We all know where the mystery is with a Christmas cracker, until it's pulled. And if my story makes the readers pause momentarily before they pull their crackers over Christmas dinner, then I'll consider my job well done!
  • Crimes of Fashion, written by Terry Cooper
    I read some of the previous books and couldn't wait to jump into Lucy’s adventures. The story takes inspiration from my teenage years as a rapper and break dancer, when the fashions were highly sought after and everyone was looking for the latest trends in shell suits and trainers. Added to the familiar sci-fi genre, it was great fun to write!
  • Imposters, written by Keren Williams (Candy Jar’s publishing co-ordinator)
    I joined the Candy Jar team just after the very first book in the Lucy Wilson series, Avatars of the Intelligence, was published. Since then, I have had the greatest pleasure of working through the entire range. Being given the opportunity to become a writer in the series has really made my year, but I just hope I’ve written something that everyone can enjoy.
  • Past, Present and Yet to Come, written by Chris Lynch
    I also wrote my story for the Candy Jar Christmas advent calendar last year. This story is a light reworking of A Christmas Carol and explores the future possibilities of the Lucy and Hobo characters.

The Lucy Wilson Mysteries: Christmas Crackers is available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website, and will be released just in time for Christmas.




The HAVOC Files: Loose EndsBookmark and Share

Monday, 25 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Previously delayed from earlier in the year, Candy Jar Books have announced its next short story collection is now being printed:

The HAVOC Files: Loose Ends (Credit: Candy Jar Books)The HAVOC Files: Loose Ends
Written By Andy Frankham-Allen, Tim Gambrell, Sharon Bidwell and John Peel
Cover by Adrian Salmon

Events in life are rarely tied up in a neat little bow. There are always loose ends. And for Anne Bishop, nee Travers, nearing the end of her life, this is painfully true.

She receives a visit from a friend she thought lost to her and shares stories about loose ends that were tied up at the last minute.

These include a return to Glencross and dealing with fallout of the events of ‘A Very Private Haunting’, the arrival on Earth of the Star Maidens of Drahb who are in search of the Dominators, an unexpected reunion between the Brigadier and a friend he thought dead for nineteen years, a visit home for Owain Vine and the discovery of a family secret that will change his life forever, and an awkward visit for Lance Corporal Evans to the mother of his dead sister.

At the end of all these tales Anne discovers that one more mission awaits her, when she learns the true story of Rhys Rubery...


This collection also features an exclusive sample of the forthcoming novel 'Downtime 2'.

This collection was originally due early in the year but had been delayed by real life events. It was originally intended to be a collection with only one author, Andy Frankham-Allen, but to ensure it got finished before the end of the year Andy called on the help of a few authors. Andy explained:

As ever, real life drama intrudes on the creative process and when it became clear that I wouldn’t have the time to finish the collection, I decided to give two of my story ideas to two other authors, as well as use Sharon (Bidwell)’s short story sequel to A Very Private Haunting, as it fit the theme of the book. And that theme is, as the title suggests, tying up loose ends left over throughout the original run of the Lethbridge-Stewart range.

The collections features three stories written by Andy; Hide No More (which sees the Brigadier reunited with an old friend) and O Brother, Where Art Thou (Owain returns home to discover a family secret that changes everything), and the two-part The Stories We Tell (in which Anne is visited by an old friend and discovers she has one final mission to undertake), which bookends the collection. The Arrival, which brings the Star Maidens of Drahb to Earth, is written by Tim Gambrell, and Tall Tales, written by John Peel, brings back Evans who has some bad news to share. The collection is topped off by Remnant of a Haunting by Sharon Bidwell, which sees Anne returning to the Glencross, the scene of the novel A Very Private Haunting.

Keren Williams, Publishing Co-ordinator, said:

It’s a great little collection, with a nice mix of sci-fi, ghost stories, and some solid real-world drama. The Stories We Tell is a particularly touching tale, bringing as it does a parallel between the fictional life of Anne Travers and the real life of a Doctor Who fan who died in 2016 at the young age of only sixteen.

The cover features brand new art by Adrian Salmon. Andy explained:

It was important to me that this book was dedicated to the family of Rhys Rubery, my young friend who died three years ago, and so Adrian did a wonderful little portrait of Rhys for the cover.

The book can be ordered from the Candy Jar website.




Doctor Who Customisable Shoulder and Laptop BagBookmark and Share

Sunday, 24 November 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Official Doctor Who Customisable Shoulder Bag With Pins (Credit: Lovarzi) Official Doctor Who Customisable Shoulder Bag With Pins (Credit: Lovarzi)
Lovarzi have announced a new, shoulder/laptop bag for their collection of Doctor Who-themed apparel.

The new design features the ability to customise the front with pin badges, the bag coming with seven exclusive designs featuring the TARDIS, the Seal of Rassilon, K9, a Cyberman head, Weeping Angel, Bow Tie, and the Thirteenth Doctor Silhouette. The former six are all made from a high-quality, matte-finish metal, with the seventh printed in full-colour featuring the Thirteenth Doctor against a beautiful sunset background, with the TARDIS waiting to whisk her off across the universe. Additional pins for the bag will be released by the company later.

The bag's interior is further lined with a repeated TARDIS print, embossed with the Doctor Who logo both inside and out; it has internal organiser pockets on one side, and a buttoned area on the other to store devices measuring up to 15.6", e.g. a large laptop or tablet. A zipped panel allows access to the pins in order to change them as required.
Maninder Singh Sahota, Director of Lovarzi, explains:
I'm so happy to finally present our new bag – we've been working on it for over two years now! The original idea came from a desire to make a product no other fandom has seen before. Something unique. We had this particular design in mind since we first approached BBC Studios about making officially-licensed Doctor Who bags.
We wanted fans to be able to customise it: make it personal and stand out from the crowd. It comes with exclusive pins which you can screw into the holes on one side, meaning you can highlight your favourite parts of the show. Effectively, you're the designer!
Speaking of their range of products, Maninder adds:
I'm incredibly proud of our whole range. It's been wonderful seeing people getting so enthusiastic about what we do. We hope fans similarly love this unique bag – and all the exciting products we've got planned for the future!

Full details for the Doctor Who Customisable Shoulder Bag (with 7 Exclusive Pins) can be found at the Lovarzi website, where the bag can also be ordered. A video highlighting the bag can also be viewed on YouTube.





The Unofficial DR WHO Annual 1987Bookmark and Share

Monday, 18 November 2019 - Reported by Marcus
The Unofficial DR WHO Annual 1987 (Credit: Terraqueous Distributors  )The Unofficial DR WHO Annual 1987 has now materialised and is ready to order.

Earlier this year, Terraqueous Distributors transport fans back to the 70s with the release of The Unofficial DR WHO Annual 1972, as 'World Distributors' elected not to bring one out for that year, creating a gap in many peoples collections. 34 years ago 'World Distributors' ended their run of Doctor Who annuals. So this time Terraqueous Distributors are taking us back to the 80's. The Unofficial DR WHO Annual 1987, is another bumper edition at 122 pages. and contains 11 stories, 2 comic strips, 10 features, 4 games, and more.

The annual also includes celebrity contributions from Frazer Hines, Alister Pearson, and David J Howe.
We are so proud and honoured to have our heroes, take part in the annual - although this time we also have a villian gracing the pages. Sil, is quite possibly the greatest villian the sixth Doctor has ever faced. And thanks to the kindness of Keith Barnfather, and Sil's creator Philip Martin, Sil has a couple of pages dedicated to him.
The Unofficial Dr Who Annual 1987 is published by Terraqueous Distributors and available from Lulu at the print-on-demand price of £21.64 plus shipping costs. None of the money paid by purchasers goes to the publisher or to any of the contributors.

The Unofficial DR WHO Annual 1972 is also available, but will be retired in January 2020.

Next year, Terraqueous Distributors will be releasing The Unofficial Master Annual. Details on the Terraqueous Distributors FaceBook page:




Doctor Who: At Childhood’s EndBookmark and Share

Friday, 1 November 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Doctor Who: At Childhood's End (Credit: Penguin Random House UK)Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End, the first novel from Sophie Aldred who played the Seventh Doctor’s companion Ace, is to be published 6th February 2020.

Once, a girl called Ace travelled the universe with the Doctor – until, in the wake of a terrible tragedy they parted company. Decades later, she is known as Dorothy McShane, the reclusive millionaire philanthropist who heads global organisation A Charitable Earth.

Dorothy is haunted by terrible nightmares, vivid dreams that begin just as scores of young runaways are vanishing from the dark alleyways of London. Could the disappearances be linked to sightings of sinister creatures lurking in the city shadows? Why has an alien satellite entered a secret orbit around the Moon?

Investigating the satellite with Ryan, Graham and Yaz, the Doctor is thrown together with Ace once more. Together they must unravel a malevolent plot that will cost thousands of lives. But can the Doctor atone for her past incarnation’s behaviour – and how much must Ace sacrifice to win victory not only for herself, but for the Earth? Past or future, which path do you choose?

Sophie Aldred said
I was thrilled and honoured to have been asked to create this opportunity for the Thirteenth Doctor and Ace to meet each other. I had always hoped to be able to offer classic fans an encounter between Ace and a current Doctor in some form or other and I hope fans of the present team will enjoy the blending of two eras of the most amazing programme in the Universe.
Doctor Who: At Childhood’s End by Sophie Aldred is published by BBC Books on 6th February 2020. RRP £16.99.

It will also be available as an audiobook in CD and digital download narrated by Sophie Aldred.




Lethbridge-Stewart: The ShadowmanBookmark and Share

Sunday, 20 October 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announced the second novel in its seventh series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, to be released in late October:

Lethbridge-Stewart: The Shadowman (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Bloodlines: The Shadowman
Written by Sharon Bidwell
Artwork by Paul Cowan


A new reality has been created by the temporal disruption ripping through the causal nexus. Welcome to 1978… with a difference.

Anne Travers, co-founder of UNIT, and her husband, Bill, are celebrating their wedding anniversary in France, which is the perfect opportunity for Anne to catch-up with an old friend; Madeleine Bonnaire.

At the institute owned by Madeleine’s father, one professor is more interested in his own project than any work for which Bonnaire has hired him. His need for secrecy and his attitude irritates his assistant, Paul Larousse, who would prefer to dwell on his feelings for Madeleine. Meanwhile, Victor Bonnaire is not at all happy to hear of Anne’s visit, not least of all because he’s always viewed Anne as a bad influence on his daughter.

What seems like a simple case of familial friction takes a bleak turn when a local unknown threat makes the news. Suspicion abounds and throws Anne and Bill into an unexpected mystery. What is the strange threat, and does it present a direct danger to anybody at the institute? Or to those who ask too many questions? Unable to walk away from her friend, Anne has no option but to investigate, little knowing she’s about to face the darkest shadow of her life so far.

The Shadowman is set in an alternative 1978, and serves as a sequel to author Sharon Bidwell’s previous novel, A Very Private Haunting. It picks up a thread left over from that novel, set in a world where Lethbridge-Stewart never took part in the London Event, and was never involved in the creation of UNIT. Instead it’s a world where Anne Travers became a founding member of that august taskforce. It also features a new version of her husband, Bill Bishop, as they head to France to celebrate their wedding anniversary.

Sharon said:
Some stories feel unfinished. When I wrote A Very Private Haunting, I left a few threads I was unsure I would ever pick up again. I already had the title of the book long figured out together with my basic idea when asked to write another novel in the range. My book, to once again feature Anne Travers, couldn't have come together more perfectly, though with consequences I never imagined at the beginning. The Shadowman features a returning character from A Very Private Haunting, which allowed me to play with someone who comes across as a thoroughly nasty character, though I see a greater depth to him. I'm a multi-genre writer, though I tend to gravitate back to what I call dark fiction, and there's definitely darkness in The Shadowman. I'm finishing some lighter projects at present intending to work on my first horror novel in the new year after completing some preliminary notes and research, so going through The Shadowman again recently has been very useful in that regard.
Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
I take Sharon wherever I go. She’s worked with me on many projects now, so it was inevitable when I heard that Big Finish were looking for more female authors, that I would put her name forward. I’ve read her story, had some input, and it’s going to be a lot of fun for fans of Jo Grant and the Eleventh Doctor. In terms of The Shadowman, Sharon sent it to me some time ago, at which point it wasn’t part of any particular novel sequence, but rather a continuation of the ongoing narrative began in 2015. But once the Bloodlines concept was developed, it seemed to me that Sharon’s story was a perfect fit, with a few continuity tweaks here and there to place it in an alternative reality in which the events of A Very Private Haunting still happened – more or less as featured in that novel.
The cover is by a new artist to the Lethbridge-Stewart range, Paul Cowan; Shaun Russell, head of publishing at Candy Jar, said:
I’ve known Paul for thirty years. He’s a great artist with a flair for almost any style. He is particularly well-known for his beautifully illustrated trading cards and TV tie-in comic strips. When the opportunity for him to do a cover came up, I could think of no one better to tackle the Shadowman.
Paul said:
Joining the team at Candy Jar is quite literally a dream come true. I get to illustrate stories featuring much-loved characters from my childhood. I have the honour of seeing my work adorn the covers of some quite wonderful stories by a very talented team of writers, many of whose works line the bookshelves in my studio. I get to join a list of hugely talented artists I admire and who have been major influences on my life and work. But best of all, I get to finally work with my friend, something that's been long overdue.

With the cover to The Shadowman, I wanted to evoke the feeling of 1970s Doctor Who. I knew I wanted to homage the Pertwee years, so the illustration of Anne Travers was very much based on the character of Section Leader Shaw from Inferno, whilst the background should be instantly recognisable to any true Doctor Who fan. The Shadowman himself is actually straight out of one of my own nightmares and when Shaun described the character to me, I knew immediately how he should appear. I used pen and ink with a base wash of alcohol marker, embellished with coloured polychromous pencils and white ink for highlights. I then added lighting effects in Paint Shop Pro, which is my go-to software of choice. It's a relatively new style for me and something I'm still trying to perfect.

The Shadowman is due out at the end of October 2019, and can be pre-ordered now either on its own or as part of the Bloodlines bundle; it is also covered by subscription.


Paul, who has MS, is raising money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society. If you visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/artrelief and donate £5 your name will go into a hat and the winner, chosen at random, will get a hand-drawn A4 portrait of your chosen subject. This can be a friend, relative, child, pet, favourite animal or celebrity. If you donate £15 (or equivalent) or more, then Paul will draw you an A4 portrait of your choice.




Official 13th Doctor ScarfBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 8 October 2019 - Reported by Marcus
13th Doctor Scarf (Credit: Lovarzi)13th Doctor Scarf (Credit: Lovarzi)The first ever officially-licensed Thirteenth Doctor Scarf is released this week by Lovarzi.

Inspired by the colourful t-shirt worn by Jodie Whittaker's incarnation of the Time Lord, this rich blue scarf is edged with a stylish rainbow pattern based on the t-shirt the Thirteenth Doctor proudly acquired at the end of her first full episode, The Woman Who Fell To Earth (2018).

This exclusive design is made from 100% high-quality Acrylic.

Maninder Singh Sahota, Director of Lovarzi, says
We think the Thirteenth Doctor’s outfit is the perfect look for this new era of the show. It's bright, bold, and colourful, so our specially-designed scarf is similarly eye-catching. But it's sure to sell fast, so best get a shift on!
Lovarzi's Doctor Who line launched in 2012 with the best-selling multi-coloured Fourth Doctor Scarf. Since then, the company has catered for cosplayers, collectors, and casual fans with items such as the TARDIS and Dalek Christmas Hat and Scarf, Seventh Doctor Sweater, and The Pandorica Opens Scarf. The Winter 2019/20 range also includes the TARDIS Laptop Bag.

The Thirteenth Doctor Scarf (25 x 175cms) will be available to order on 11th October, priced £24.99, from the official Lovarzi website

If you join LOVARZI Doctor Who Fan Club now and enjoy savings of 15% at time of launch plus get early exclusive access to buy the scarf.




Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires BurnBookmark and Share

Sunday, 29 September 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Candy Jar Books has announce more details about the first novel in its seventh series of Lethbridge-Stewart novels, Bloodlines:

Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires Burn (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Lethbridge-Stewart: Home Fires Burn
Written by Gareth Madgwick
Cover by Richard Young


1943. Britain's Home Front is feeling the pain of war.

The Fourth Operational Corps has other things to worry about. A downed plane in the High Peak leads Professor Travers to a village full of buried secrets and a family that are far more than they seem.

Her first assignment sees new recruit Eileen Le Croissette infiltrating a Sheffield Steelworks. Buried within is a weapon that could change the course of the war, but what does the secretive Mr Huxtable have to do with it?

Avoiding his domineering father, Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart is also on the case. But he wasn't banking on meeting a group of homicidal little robots…

The pieces are being set for another conflict, one that started a long way away, to erupt in the middle of wartime Britain.

Home Fires Burn sees the return of Section Officer Eileen Le Croissette, based on real-life war hero Eileen Younghusband, on her first mission for the Home-Army Fourth Operational Corps, once again alongside Professor Edward Travers. It also features the return of the Brigadier’s uncle, Matthew Lethbridge-Stewart and the Quarks (last seen in the Lethbridge-Stewart novel, Mutually Assured Domination!)

Range Editor Andy Frankham-Allen said:
As with The Laughing Gnome sequence of novels, I came up with an arc in which to tell some non-chronological stories. Shaun and I wanted to highlight some of popular secondary characters, so I looked at which characters would make for a good mix. And, to add to the mix, which monsters had not used independently before. In this instance, the Quarks (baring some comics in the 1960s) always tend to appear alongside their masters the Dominators, so I thought it would be interesting to utilise them without the Dominators. And bearing in mind this first book is set in 1943, that presented the author with another challenge. How to use them without the Dominators, and in a time period long before they ever came to Earth. One other element I wanted to include, just so we had at least one Lethbridge-Stewart in the book, was to bring back the Brig’s uncle, Matthew, a character Gareth handled so well in his previous short story. I’m happy to say Gareth produced a great story that brings all these elements together, as well as honours the great men and women who served our nation during World War II.
This is the first novel by Gareth Madgwick, who had previously written two short stories for the Lethbridge-Stewart range, The Great Magician and Spirits of the Vasty Deep in The HAVOC Files 4 collection, and Inheritance in the Lineage anthology. He said:
I was thrilled when Andy asked me to write my first full length novel, and even more excited when I found out that I would be writing for Edward Travers, Eileen Le Croissette and the Fourth Operational Corps during the war. After all, an eccentric scientist, a confident young woman and a not completely trustworthy military are what the big old Doctor Who universe is all about if, like me, you started with the Pertwee repeats in the ‘90s. The story really began to come together best after Andy asked me to avoid anything that wasn't really known in contemporary literature and science of 1943. That led me down the path of some of the wonderful genre fiction that predated the 1950s, when we think science fiction started. A lot of that has influenced the book in its feel. It's been a blast writing it. Although a massive step up from the two short stories that I'd written for Candy Jar previously, it was a natural progression. I felt that I was combining the character work of Inheritance with the historical research that I did for The Great Magician (although I have to say, Sheffield's libraries have rather a better selection of Second World War material than information on Owain Glyndwr for some reason).
The cover is by returning artist Richard Young, whose previous cover art includes The Flaming Soldier, A Very Private Haunting, and Scary Monsters. Richard said:
I’ve wanted to tackle the Quarks for a long time and knowing that the book is set in Sheffield during the Second World War, I felt that they should have an authentic wartime look. Added to this, I wanted to feature a different picture of Eileen. After a bit of research, Shaun found a wonderful photograph. I just hope people like what I have done.
Gareth adds:
The beautiful cover has really captured the feel of the book.

Home Fires Burn is released to tie-in with the 80th Anniversary of World War II. Shaun Russell, Head of Publishing at Candy Jar Books, explains a little of Eileen’s role in the war:
With eightieth anniversary of the start of the war, we felt that we really wanted to acknowledge the contribution the greatest generation made to all our lives. In 1941 Eileen signed the official secrets act, and wasn’t able to talk about her work in the top secret Filter Room. In 2017 she was featured in The Flaming Soldier and we’ve had so many requests to bring her back. So, here she is launching the new series of books, and this time round her contribution to this story will have major affect on Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart’s life.
Gareth said:
The Second World War is an era that has always fascinated me, including the bravery and steadfastness of those like Eileen Le Croissette (later Candy Jar author Eileen Younghusband). Setting it in the beautiful Peak District and also the nearby Sheffield steelworks gave me an opportunity to look into areas of the war effort that aren't always explored elsewhere, and the sacrifices made.

Home Fires Burn can be pre-ordered now either on its own or as part of the Bloodlines bundle from the Candy Jar website. It is also part of the series seven subscription.




Eccleston to attend Gallifrey One ConventionBookmark and Share

Thursday, 26 September 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Ninth Doctor Christopher Eccleston has been announced as a guest at the annual Gallifrey One Convention to be held in Los Angeles early next year.

The appearance will see the actor attend both days of the convention, now in its thirty-first year.

Christopher Eccleston has for many years been reluctant to discuss his time in Doctor Who. He was cast as The Doctor when the series returned in 2005, but only served for one year. The manner of his departure was controversial with the BBC at the time having to apologise for a press release issued on his departure which was inaccurate over the reasons the star left the series.

Eccleston said the incident at the time left him feeling bitter. In recent years he has been more amenable to discussing his role as the Doctor and in his recent autobiography, he paid tribute to the show's fans.
Yes, I have felt bitter, and yes, I have felt betrayed, but I know also that Doctor Who was the best thing that, professionally, ever happened to me, not so much a learning curve as a plunge down a well and a long climb towards the sunshine I see now,

These days, I feel nothing but positive about the show, to the extent I have even started doing conventions, something I’d been wary of because I always wanted to earn my money from acting.
Eccleston has recently released a new memoir I Love the Bones of You: My Father And The Making Of Me, a gritty account of his life, his battles and his relationship with his father, who suffers from dementure. In the book, the actor discusses his mental health, revealing that he has lived with eating disorders and had considered suicide. He revealed that while making Doctor Who he was suffering from anorexia.
People love the way I look in that series, but I was very ill. The reward for that illness was the part. And therein lies the perpetuation of the whole sorry situation.
A spokesperson for the eating disorder charity Beat praised the actor's courage speaking about having anorexia.

In the UK Christopher Eccleston will be discussing the book at a special event being held at the Lowry Theatre in Salford Quays on Monday 14th October.





Lethbridge-Stewart: On His Majesty's National Service updateBookmark and Share

Sunday, 8 September 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Lethbridge-Stewart: On His Majesty's National Service (John Peel) (Credit: Candy Jar Books)Candy Jar Books have announced a change of author for the coda of their The Laughing Gnome series of books.

On His Majesty’s National Service was originally scheduled to be written by David A McIntee and Lynette Nusbacher for a June release. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, David McIntee was unable to continue.

Head of Publishing Shaun Russell said:
I have always been a big fan of David’s outstanding Doctor Who work, and I truly regret having to engage a new author. It is unfortunate that, in David’s own words, he was ‘over committed’, but we’re lucky to have found such a wonderful replacement in John Peel.

The new version of On His Majesty’s National Service will be set during the same period of Lethbridge-Stewart’s life, but will be telling a different story.

Editor Andy Frankham-Allen explained:
John promptly came up with some ideas and a basic outline that fit the shopping list of elements I gave to him – certain story beats needed to be hit, to fit continuity from other books. I did give David the option of allowing John to use elements from his story, should they fit, which David was quite happy to do. However, beyond a few background details, John has opted to go his own way. It’s going to be an exciting adventure story set during the Korean War, in which we see the events that turned Lethbridge-Stewart into the hero we all know and love.

The book is currently available to pre-order from the Candy Jar website.
There was always one question that bugged Bill Bishop, what turned Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart from a man interested in teaching to a career military hero? Using the power of the Laughing Gnome, Bill travels back to the 1950s to find out...

As a young man Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart never wanted to follow in his illustrious family military history, he just wanted to be a maths teacher. But then the Korean War broke out and he was called up for National Service. He soon met Spencer Pemberton – and his life was changed forever!




Season 26 Blu-ray ReleaseBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 3 September 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Season 26 (Credit: BBC Studios)BBC Studios have announced that Season 26 will be the next instalment in the DOCTOR WHO: THE COLLECTION Blu-ray range

Released on Monday 23rd December is the acclaimed final season from the series’ original run, starring Sylvester McCoy and Sophie Aldred:

Doctor Who – The Collection: Season 26
  • BATTLEFIELD
  • GHOST LIGHT
  • THE CURSE OF FENRIC
  • SURVIVAL
In 1989, Doctor Who was on a creative high, with the Seventh Doctor and his companion Ace revitalising the programme for a new generation. Season 26 featured four epic adventures traversing a future Britain invaded by inter-dimensional knights, a strange Victorian house haunted by ghosts from Ace’s past, an alien world populated by Cheetah People and a 1940s army camp under siege from monstrous vampires.

With guest stars including Nicholas Courtney (Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart), Anthony Ainley (The Master), Jean Marsh, Nicholas Parsons, Anne Reid, Ian Hogg, Sylvia Syms and comedy duo Hale & Pace, this fondly-remembered set of stories saw the end of an era for Doctor Who, and set the stage for its hugely successful revival.

With all episodes newly remastered from the best available sources, this Blu-ray box set also contains extensive and exclusive special features including:

Rare Restored Extended Cuts
  • The Curse of Fenric VHS Extended Version
  • The Curse of Fenric DVD Special Edition
  • Battlefield VHS Extended Version
  • Battlefield DVD Special Edition
5.1 surround sound & isolated scores
  • On all 14 broadcast episodes, plus 5.1 sound on all extended versions of The Curse Of Fenric and Battlefield.
Behind the Sofa
  • New episodes with Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, plus companions Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Anneke Wills and Jodie-Whittaker-era writers Pete McTighe & Joy Wilkinson.
Showman - the Life of John Nathan-Turner
  • A feature-length look at the life and career of Doctor Who’s longest-serving producer, who fought to keep the programme on-air during the 1980s. Contributors include Peter Davison and Colin Baker.
Making ‘The Curse of Fenric’
  • A brand new documentary featuring Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred, Tomek Bork, Nicholas Parsons, Cory Pulman, Marek Anton, Ian Briggs, Andrew Cartmel, Mark Ayres and Ian Collins featuring unseen behind-the-scenes footage and photographs.
In Conversation
  • Matthew Sweet chats to companion Sophie Aldred.
The Writers’ Room
  • Ben Aaronovitch, Marc Platt, Ian Briggs, Rona Munro and Andrew Cartmel discuss their work on Season 26.
Becoming The Destroyer
  • Actor Marek Anton and prosthetics designer Stephen Mansfield recall the creation of one of Doctor Who’s best ever monsters.
The seven-disc box set also includes hours of special features previously released on DVD.

Pre-order on Amazon.

On Saturday 23rd November, the BFI Southbank will be screening Doctor Who: The Curse of Fenric (from the Special Edition Blu-ray) and holding a Q&A with actor Sophie Aldred and script editor Andrew Cartmel. Tickets are available from the BFI on the following dates:
  • Monday 16th September – BFI Patrons and Champions
  • Tuesday 17th September – BFI Members
  • Tuesday 24th September – public booking




Sixth Doctor and Peri return in new audio adventures for 2020Bookmark and Share

Tuesday, 20 August 2019 - Reported by Chuck Foster
The Sixth Doctor and Peri - Vol 1: Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant (Credit: Big Finish)Big Finish have announced four new adventures for the Sixth Doctor and Peri for August 2020, set after The Trial of a Time Lord and their audio adventure The Rani Elite.

Producer/Director Scott Handcock said:
Ever since the Sixth Doctor and Peri were reunited in The Widow’s Assassin back in 2014, listeners have wanted a continuation of their post-Trial of a Time Lord adventures together. And so now, to commemorate twenty years of Doctor Who at Big Finish, they’re getting a new collection of stories spanning the cosmos. We travel to nineteenth-century Africa, futuristic Earth colonies and a 1970s film studios plus we meet the ultimate Doctor/companion relationship counsellor in Sigmund Freud!

Nicola Bryant said about her character's return:
Because of the journey that BF have given them, both together and individually, we’ve been lucky enough to expand them into these amazing new people. If everything had stayed in some kind of stasis where we were stuck with exactly what we did on television, then I think the audience might have disappeared. But it just seems that we’ve been given such great journeys, and I love coming back to this Doctor/companion.

This new set of stories will also feature Colin Baker's daughter Rosie in the third adventure.

The Sixth Doctor and Peri - Vol 1 (Credit: Big Finish)1. The Headless Ones by James Parsons & Andrew Stirling-Brown
When a distress call from an unknown source threatens to rip the TARDIS from the vortex, the Doctor and Peri arrive in nineteenth-century Africa hoping to find the cause of the disturbance. Instead, they meet a British expedition searching for a long lost tribe: the B’lemyae… better known to the locals as ‘the Headless Ones’.

2. Like by Jacqueline Rayner
On the Earth colony world Rusina, the populace strive to be popular. Likes lead to promotion, dislikes lead to demotion – and more recently, something worse. So when the Doctor investigates the truth behind their subscriber-led society, he finds himself about to become very unpopular indeed.

3. The Vanity Trap by Stuart Manning
Myrna Kendal used to be a Hollywood film star. Now she spends her life reminiscing on chat shows but there is always one unfinished film she refuses to talk about… at least until the TARDIS interrupts a TV interview, and the Doctor and Peri’s appearance stirs up long-forgotten memories.

4. Conflict Theory by Nev Fountain
Concerned by the Doctor’s increasing over-protectiveness, Peri presents him with an ultimatum: either they seek counselling or she leaves the TARDIS permanently. Reluctant to lose one of his closest friends, the Doctor seeks out one of the finest psychoanalysts in the universe: Dr Sigmund Freud.

Cast
Colin Baker (The Doctor), Nicola Bryant (Peri Brown), Deirdre Mullins (Amanda Latimer), Hugh Skinner (Lord Oliver Erpingham), Vivienne Acheampong (Siyanda), Javone Prince (Kaylin), Lucy Robinson (Christie), Eilidh Loan (Marconi), Amelia Donkor (Hoffmann), Rachel Atkins (Governor Crompton), Timothy Blore (Sandis-Fernis), Sarah Douglas (Myrna Kendal), Rosie Baker (Carolyn Sue), Stephen Critchlow (Jimmy Garfield), Ryan Forde Iosco (Dr. Karp), David Sibley (Dr. Freud), Raj Ghatak (The Complex), George Naylor (Dodo).

The Sixth Doctor and Peri - Vol 1: Cast from The Headless Ones (Credit: Big Finish) The Sixth Doctor and Peri - Vol 1: Cast from Like (Credit: Big Finish) The Sixth Doctor and Peri - Vol 1: Cast from The Vanity Trap (Credit: Big Finish) The Sixth Doctor and Peri - Vol 1: Cast from Conflict Theory (Credit: Big Finish)




Black Archive #34: BattlefieldBookmark and Share

Thursday, 15 August 2019 - Reported by Marcus
Black Archive - Battlefield (Credit: Obverse Books)The latest in the series looking in detail at the making of Doctor Who, Black Archive, has been published by Obverse Books

Edition #34 looks at the seventh Doctor story Battlefield and come from range editor, Philip Purser-Hallard.

Often seen as the black sheep of the final season of 20th century Doctor Who, Battlefield also happens to be one of Purser-Hallard's favourite Who stories, but he's not allowed that fondness to blind him the serial's faults - though fair to say he doesn't pan it either.

Battlefield (1989) sees a clash of mythologies, as the progressive, anti-racist, sporadically pacifist Doctor Who of the late 1980s takes on Britain’s authoritarian, chivalric national myth of King Arthur. With a script by Ben Aaronovitch, now a bestselling urban fantasy novelist but then only the writer of the previous year’s acclaimed Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), it forms with its predecessor a ‘philosophical pair’, replacing its 1960s setting with an imagined 1990s and showing a Doctor dealing with the repercussions of his future actions, rather than his past. Even as a script Battlefield falls short of complete success, yet it remains an emotionally literate, politically engaged and thematically complex piece. It finds areas of overlap between Andrew Cartmel’s radical conception of Doctor Who and Arthurian myth in the legend of a past golden age, represented by the return of Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and UNIT, and in the identification of the Doctor – always presented by the series as a wizard, a prophet and a mentor – with Merlin. It interrogates the patriarchal attitudes of both the Arthurian myths and 1970s Doctor Who from a contemporary perspective, and questions the attitudes to war found in both.

It also does an exemplary job of worldbuilding, sketching in a convincing near future based on a handful of lines, and presents a complex, questionable, even sympathetic villain motivated by a value system alien to our own. Finally, it raises questions of predestination: through the other characters’ foreknowledge of the Doctor’s future; through the fate apparently decreed for Ancelyn and Bambera; and, perhaps, through the Brigadier’s survival of a story whose structure seems to demand that he should die.

Philip Purser-Hallard is the founding editor of the Black Archive range, the author of The Black Archive #4: Death in Heaven and co-author of The Black Archive #13: Human Nature / The Family of Blood.

He has published five novels, including a trilogy of near-future Arthurian urbanfantasy political thrillers, The Pendragon Protocol, The Locksley Exploit and Trojans, and a Sherlock Holmes novel, The Vanishing Man.

Link to Website